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Celeste Holm Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trivia (42)  | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (3)

Born in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Died in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA  (heart attack)
Height 5' 5¾" (1.67 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Celeste Holm was an only child, born into a home where her mother was a painter and her father worked in insurance. She would study acting at the University of Chicago and make her stage debut in 1936. Her Broadway debut came when she was 19 in 'The Time of Your Life'. She appeared in many successful plays, including "The Women", "Oklahoma!" and "Bloomer Girl". It was in the production of "Oklahoma!" that Celeste would sing the showstopper, "I Cain't Say No". She was signed by 20th Century Fox in 1946 and appeared in her first film, Three Little Girls in Blue (1946). With her third film, Gentleman's Agreement (1947), she would win the Supporting Actress Oscar and a Golden Globe. Celeste would be nominated twice more for Academy Awards in the Come to the Stable (1949) and All About Eve (1950). But, Celeste was a star who loved the stage so she left Hollywood, only to return for two MGM musicals in the 1950s. They were The Tender Trap (1955) and High Society (1956). In addition to her stage career, Celeste appeared on television in her own series, Honestly, Celeste! (1954) and as a panelist on Who Pays? (1959). In 1970, Celeste returned to television series as the chaperon to the president's daughter on Nancy (1970). For the next two decades, she would appear on television in regular series, miniseries and movies. Celeste Holm died at age 95 of a heart attack on July 15, 2012.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Family (4)

Spouse Frank Basile (29 April 2004 - 15 July 2012)  (her death)
Wesley Addy (22 May 1966 - 31 December 1996)  (his death)
Alexander Schuyler Dunning (21 March 1946 - 6 May 1953)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Francis Emerson Harding Davies (7 January 1940 - 8 May 1945)  (divorced)
Ralph Nelson (11 September 1936 - 1939)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Children Ted Nelson
Parents Holm, Theodor
Holm, Jean
Relatives Parke, Charles (grandparent)
Hand, Blanche (grandparent)

Trivia (42)

Performed in five stage shows with George M. Cohan.
Turned down the 1977 Broadway revival of "Oklahoma!" when she realized she was wanted for Aunt Eller not Ado Annie.
Originated the role of boy-crazy Ado Annie, the girl who "cain't say no", in "Oklahoma!" on Broadway in the 1940s.
Won an undisclosed settlement from Pedro Almodóvar for his use of film footage of her from All About Eve (1950) without her permission in his film All About My Mother (1999); her contract from the film stipulated her image could not be used.
Was a spokesperson for UNICEF.
Appointed to the National Arts Council by President Ronald Reagan.
Her professional theatrical debut was in a production of "Hamlet", with Leslie Howard ("Ashley Wilkes" from Gone with the Wind (1939)).
Inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1992
Toured occasionally with her one-woman show, "An Intimate Evening with Celeste", in which she related stories from her long film career, followed by readings from writer Ruth Draper, until her retirement in 2009.
Was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor
Her father was an insurance adjuster for Lloyd's of London who emigrated from Norway to the US in 1909, and her mother a portrait artist and author.
Received an honorary degree from Seton Hall University in May 1991.
In 1957 King Olav V of Norway made her Knight 1st Class of the Order of St. Olav for her help in saving one of Norway's national treasures, the schooner "Christian Radich".
Her son Ted is an innovator in the information technology industry. It was Nelson who coined the term "hypertext", in the early 1960s.
In April 2006, Holm was presented with one of the first two Lifetime Achievement Awards ever awarded by the SunDeis Film Festival at Brandeis University. (Margaret O'Brien received the other.).
Following her divorce from Ralph Nelson, Holm put her son Ted Nelson in the care of her parents in order to pursue her acting career. She saw him only in between breaks from shooting or rehearsals, but maintained a closer relationship with him when Ted became an adult.
Returned to work 6 months after giving birth to her son Daniel in order to begin filming Gentleman's Agreement (1947).
Met her fifth husband Frank Basile, 46 years her junior, at a fundraiser in October 1999.
Grandmother to David Dunning (b. 1981); they have been estranged since 2007.
Lived on Central Park West in Manhattan, New York City, in a co-op apartment she bought in 1953 for $10,000 cash.
She had confirmed that she no longer spoke to her sons following five years of litigation, which resulted in her losing $2 million in lawyer's fees (2 July 2011).
Was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2002.
Her youngest son Daniel lived with her until he was age 15 and then began attending boarding school.
She and her husband lived in the same apartment building in Central Park West in Manhattan as Robert De Niro.
(July 15, 2012) Early morning, she was admitted to New York's Roosevelt Hospital with dehydration and suffered a heart attack whilst in the facility. Holm died a few hours later.
Her remains are buried in New York City's Woodlawn Cemetery.
Gave birth to her 1st child at age 20, a son Theodor "Ted" Nelson on June 17, 1937. Child's father is her 1st ex-husband, Ralph Nelson.
Gave birth to her 2nd child at age 29, a son Daniel Schuyler Dunning on November 5, 1946. Child's father is her 3rd ex-husband, A. Schuyler Dunning.
Was the 29th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Gentleman's Agreement (1947) at The 20th Academy Awards on March 20, 1948.
She was nominated for the 2014 New Jersey Hall of Fame in the Arts and Entertainment Category.
Celeste Holm (1917-2012), in early 1971, was asked to open the new University of Michigan Professional Theatre program's new just finished stage facility. Celeste Holm and her husband Wesley Addy (m. 22 March 1966-31 Dec 1996, his death) approached their friend Claibe Richardson with the proposal; to present his recent musical "The Grass Harp", staged at the Rhode Island School of Design Auditorium by the Trinity Square Repertory Company, produced and directed by Adrian Hall, to open the new theatre at Michigan University, Ann Arbor. Celeste and husband Wesley Addy had been looking for a musical property for Celeste to perform. Broadway producer Richard Barr, had taken under option "The Grass Harp" property as his new production, agreed to the Celeste Holm proposal. University of Michigan would finance the complete cost of mounting the musical. This opportunity became CFR's chance to get a production mounted to take onto Broadway, financed by the University of Michigan. Celeste would be a featured cast member performing the role "Baby Love" with her heavenly-pride-and-joys. The roulette ball rolling! CFR had to get new orchestrations and adapt the rewrites Kenward Elmslie had recently submitted. CFR, a professional friend with director Ellis Rabb, recommended Ellis to Richard Barr as the musical's director. (Ellis Rabb had never directed a musical in his life, nor would Ellis ever do another musical in his career!). Ellis Rabb brought Michael Tipton, his scenic and lighting designer and costumer Nancy Pptts along. The original Trinity Square cast was evaluated and recast. Barbara Baxley as Dolly Heart Talbo was replaced with Barbara Cook; Carol Bruce as Verena Talbo was replaced with Ruth Ford; Elaine Stritch as Baby Love was replaced with Celeste Holm. James Tilton's stage set had a metal tree trunk and limbs plunked upstage center of the basic main stage set; no casters for moving "in-one" for scenes staged in the tree's branches. Instead, the featured set piece stood planted as a tomb stone center stage, up/towards the back-stage. All musical dance numbers staged up-stage "in-one", while the cast stood "down-stage" observing the action. After the musical closed at Michigan University, the production was moved to NYC, to begin previews October 28th, opening November 2nd. In the transition to Broadway, Celeste Holm had served her purpose of getting the show on track, until everyone decided Celeste was not to be included in the Broadway transfer. CFR's lawyer Rose Caputo was replaced with new legal representation through Richard Barr. Richard Barr wanted Rose Caputo to surrender all of her Claibe Richardson legal material representation. Caputo refused. CFR, nevertheless, got what he wanted with new management, dumping further relations with his friend and lawyer Rose Caputo. The question why was the musical a flop? Between Richard Barr, CFR and Ellis Rabb, Celeste Holm was fired, replaced with Karen Morrow. The physical stage production was doomed with burlap material employed as side leg panels, borders, and as a stage drop masking surround. Burlap brown material is a dense coarse woven fabric which should never be used as stage curtain or stage border configuration because the material absorbs sound, not deflect sound. The audience could hear the orchestra but the cast voices could not get past and over the orchestra pit. The Martin Beck Theatre is an immense theatre auditorium; with little voices, no mikes nor sound support except for Cook and Morrow; a big orchestra for the musical but with no stage hands because there was no scenery to move! Ruth Ford worrying if her silk stocking seam is in a straight line! The musical opened during a newspaper strike with no advance publicity. No advance theatre block-party ticket sales. The musical's closing notice was posted five days after opening November 2nd. The musical can never be revived nor staged because of orchestration copy rights forfeited by CFR and Elmslie.
Is one of 13 actresses who won their Best Supporting Actress Oscars in a movie that also won the Best Picture Oscar (she won for Gentleman's Agreement (1947)). The others are Hattie McDaniel for Gone with the Wind (1939), Teresa Wright for Mrs. Miniver (1942), Mercedes McCambridge for All the King's Men (1949), Donna Reed for From Here to Eternity (1953), Eva Marie Saint for On the Waterfront (1954), Rita Moreno for West Side Story (1961), Meryl Streep for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), Juliette Binoche for The English Patient (1996), Judi Dench for Shakespeare in Love (1998), Jennifer Connelly for A Beautiful Mind (2001), Catherine Zeta-Jones for Chicago (2002) and Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years a Slave (2013).
He appeared in two Best Picture Academy Award winners: Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and All About Eve (1950). She also appears in one more Best Picture nominee: The Snake Pit (1948) and has an uncredited voice-only role in another: A Letter to Three Wives (1949).
Daughter of Theodor (1888-1978), born in Norway, and Jean (née Parke) Holm (1887-1973), born in the state of Minnesota.
Maternal granddaughter of Charles Parke (1848-1921), born in the state of Illinois, and Blanche (née Newell) Hand (1860-1898), born in the state of New York.
Best remembered by the public for her starring role as Hattie Greene in [Promised Land (1996)].
Made her Broadway debut in Saroyan's 'The Time of Your Life' when 19.Seven years later after appearing in plays and musicals she was put under contract by 20th Century Fox.
She was the original Ado Annie in 'Oklahoma'. Other musicals she appeared in include 'The King and I' and 'Mame' on stage and 'High Society' on screen.
She became a singer by accident. In WWII she wanted to entertain the troops and had to be a singer so became one.
She has appeared in two films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and All About Eve (1950).
When Celeste Holm and Bette Davis first met on set of All About Eve Bette responded to Celeste's Good Morning with Oh S*** good manners. They didn't speak again off camera for the duration of the shoot.

Personal Quotes (5)

[on her wisecracking smart girl image] I hated that. It's stereotyped. I only played that kind of role in two pictures and that was enough, thank you. It's not me.
We live by encouragement and die without it - slowly, sadly, and angrily.
My Norwegian family says, "You're the most grounded American we've ever met".
[on Bette Davis] I walked onto the set [All About Eve (1950)] and there's Bette and I say, "Good morning", and she said, "Oh, shit, good manners". and I felt as if I'd been hit in the face with a wet flounder and I never spoke to her again. She called me a "bitch", okay.
I believe that if a man does a job as well as a woman, he should be paid as much.

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